Kazakhstan eases Ukraine meat import restrictions

By Vladislav Vorotnikov

- Last updated on GMT

Kazakhstan's capital city Astana
Kazakhstan's capital city Astana

Related tags: World trade organization, Poultry

Kazakhstan has lifted restrictions on eight livestock companies in Ukraine, following negotiations with a delegation from the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the issue, according to the country’s Economic Development Ministry.

Among the companies approved for export is the Agromars Company – Ukraine’s second-largest poultry producer.

According to deputy minister Natalia Mykolskiy, temporary restrictions on the accession of Kazakhstan to the WTO have been abolished and the country has further promised to expand its list of approved suppliers, with seven new companies, as soon as possible. 

Industry experts believe the restrictions may have a political colour, however, as they have been implemented almost simultaneously as the same measures with Russian authorities against a backdrop of growing political tension between the governments of the two countries.

Political motivation

Russia’s veterinary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor has been repeatedly blamed for introducing veterinary restrictions on Kazakhstan products, based on political motivation. 

“Within the negotiations we also discussed and agreed the quota allowed for imports of meat products, which will amount to 140,000 tonnes (t) per year,”​ said the press service of Kazakhstan’s Agricultural Ministry.

“The maximum allowed level of subsidies for the meat industry is set at 8.5%, while in a number of other country members of the WTO - such as Russia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Croatia and Georgia - this figure does not exceed 5%.” 

Need to replace US imports​ 

It is believed the approval of Ukraine suppliers may also be connected to the recent decision by Russian authorities to block any transit of US poultry to Kazakhstan. During the first five months of 2015, the US supplied Kazakhstan with 24,000t of poultry, so there were concerns that the move by the Russian authorities could create a deficit in the country’s poultry market. 

Kazakhstan’s Union of Poultry Producers said that the overall size of the poultry market in Kazakhstan was 250,000t–300,000t, with 33% of this amount previously being accounted for by US imports. 

“However, we do not expect any deficit and price hikes due to these restrictions​ [on US poultry imports],”​ said union president Ruslav Shapirov. “Last year Kazakhstan produced 148,000t of poultry and, this year, this figure will rise to 180,000t. In addition, our farmers have stocks of unsold poultry and we have a large number of poultry products coming from Russia and Ukraine.”​ 

Ukraine poultry

According to the union’s data, Ukraine poultry will not replace US chicken on the domestic market, as the latter is mainly purchased by processors, while Ukraine supplies different products to the market. 

Meanwhile, Russian authorities are seeking to limit imports of Ukrainian goods to the Customs Union, including meat and poultry, by implementing a quota system.

A decision on this may be taken as early as September, should Ukraine sign the economic part of an Association Agreement with the European Union, according to statements from Russia’s deputy minister of economic development Alexey Lichachev.

Related topics: Meat

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